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ESPN FC  By ESPN

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to score this weekend -- projection

After both were shut out on the season's opening weekend, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are tipped to find the net in their next games by ESPN's projection model, which predicts how the two scoring rivals will fare each week and over the whole season in La Liga.

On Saturday, Messi and Barcelona host Malaga at Camp Nou, while Ronaldo and Real Madrid welcome Real Betis to the Bernabeu.

Messi Ronaldo weekend 20150828
Last season, Messi did not score at home to Malaga while Ronaldo did not play against Real Betis.

2015-16 total goals projection

Ronaldo was the preseason tip to score more goals, but the latest projection makes Messi a narrow favourite to win the head-to-head battle.

Messi Ronaldo goals 20150828
Between them Ronaldo and Messi have won the last six Pichichi awards, given to the leading scorer in La Liga.

What do you think?

We want your input! Vote in the poll and let us know who you think will score the most goals this season, using the hashtag #ESPNFCMessiRonaldo.

2015-16 milestone projection

After a barren opening weekend, the odds of Messi and Ronaldo reaching certain goal landmarks are level in all categories.

Messi Ronaldo milestones 20150828
Messi has 286 career Liga goals. Ronaldo has 225.

How does the projection model work?

Here's a brief explanation from its creator, ESPN Stats & Information analytics specialist Zach Bradshaw:

"These projections account for the historical performance (goals scored and minutes played) of the two players since 2010, strength of opposing defences faced (measured by SPI defensive rating), game location, and the potential for injury or missing games. Based on the these inputs, the predictor will estimate the chance of each player scoring any number of goals for each remaining game. From this, we can project the total number of goals scored, hat tricks, and the chance of each player accruing more goals than the other over the course of the entire Liga season."

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